Graffiti mars landmarks

September 18, 2003 12:00 am

By LENORE RUTHERFORD

Graffiti was sprayed on several Tuolumne landmarks, including a mural at the Tuolumne swimming pool that depicts the history of the area, earlier this week,

The mural at 18640 Main St. was defaced with black spray-painted graffiti, said Betty Cones, Tuolumne County recreation superintendent. She said much of the graffiti was racial in nature.

"Maybe it can be fixed, or maybe we will have to get input from the community and start from scratch," she said.

The mural was painted in 1997 as a joint effort of the county recreation department and the Senior-Youth Partnership program, which trains senior citizens to work with children and teens.

Twain Harte artist Tonio Kohl designed the mural, which depicts significant parts of Tuolumne's history, including the Me-Wuk settlements, logging, railroads and gold mining.

Children at the Tuolumne Youth Center painted the mural under Kohl's supervision.

The gazebo in West Side Memorial Park, across the street from the pool, was also hit by taggers.

"I think this was an isolated incident," said Tuolumne Park and Recreation District Director Dick Southern. "We haven't had anything like this happen for a long time. The downtown area has become a family place, but it only takes one individual to act dumb and reverse ground we have gained in the last five years."

The Tuolumne County Sheriff's Department got four calls Tuesday morning about graffiti in Tuolumne.

The first was from a caller who said he found spray paint on the Longhorn Club on Chestnut Avenue and on a nearby vehicle.

Someone from the Tuolumne Park and Recreation District called at 9:19 a.m. to report that the park, swimming pool and Tuolumne Veterans Memorial Hall areas had been sprayed.

At 9:46 a.m., a caller on the 18400 block of Bay Avenue said her business — the Hair Lair — was sprayed with black paint overnight.